Mary Stuart, Grand Theatre, Leeds

By Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 8 June 2010]
When a story is based on history, we expect a fair amount of fidelity to the facts. But the job of artists is to stimulate the imagination, not to write documentaries. Maria Stuarda, the Donizetti opera based on a play by Schiller, is a good example. We know Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor never met, but that didn’t stop a German playwright and an Italian composer creating a fictional confrontation, without which the drama would lose its point. This is easy when the history is not your own. It requires clever management when English history is being dramatised for an English audience.